I'm talking about Dance Recital Time.
Yes, every June, little and bigger girls all across the nation get their moment to shine after all of the weeks that moms and dads have carted them to and fro the dance class, trying to remember what to bring and how to get in and out of the congested parking lot without hitting their kid's classmate who's running like a banshee between cars, and where is the banshee's mom, anyway?
I have two daughters who have danced most of their lives. It started years ago with praise dance taught by one of our associate pastor's wives at our church. I cannot describe for you the sweetness of this era.
Soon we moved on to a studio with actual mirrors and noncarpeted floors. And costumes.
And ... recitals.
Oh, it was a new era. Or should I say a new "eon" because that's how long these things last. You begin the recital during the Carboniferous Period and come out to the parking lot and lo and behold: you're in the Triassic Period.
There are some constants, like the eternal duration, that you can count on at each recital:
- Red lipstick and blue eye shadow for the stage. Scary on 9 year-olds. Or really, on anyone, for that matter, except maybe Courtney Love who would just look plain without it.
- The "baby" dancers sandwiched between older, edgy dancers. This year, there are baby tap dancers shuffling to "Mr. Sandman." Mr. Sandman, in this case, is an actual boy dancer, very focused and stoic. He's a serious five year-old Sandman who looks like he could put you out "night-night" for good if you gave him any guff about his sparkly costume.
- Lyrical dances that you can't figure out. I remember when Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties did his "interpretive dance." All of these dances remind me of Alex. I don't get why they always involve one dancer offering another dancer something, like a rose, and the second one declines the offering, and they both wilt and crawl off stage.
- The weird stage exit. You do not just walk off after your dance is done. You either 1) Walk off waving if you're cute and little 2) Do the side step, crossover, drag your foot off the stage sideways move. Very natural looking, of course.
- The glitch. At some point, the music will mess up and the dance will have to begin again. This adds another era to the eons that you're in the auditorium.
- The cryer. Someone will inevitably look like she's never been in a dance class before in her life and cannot figure out why she has been put in a strange costume and pushed on stage. Of course, she has been in class for months and has begged to wear the costume at home to play in, but this stage thing? She's not down with it.
- Funky Hip Hop. The goal of this is to look edgy and p.o.'d, I think. They generally wear black and camo costumes with rips and bandanas, but the funny thing is, no one looks the part. They all look like Hoosier Future Farmers of America wearing hoe-down scarves doing the "pop-n-lock" or something like that. But this is my second daughter's style of choice.
- The costume glitch. Someone's hair piece will fall off or over her face. If she is little, this will cause a meltdown. If she's older, she will think everyone focused on that one mishap the entire evening and will be seen crying in the lobby afterwards.
- The flowers. Many dancers receive small bouquets after the recital. Some bad parents forget to get their kid a bouquet every year and try to hurry them out and buy them a Taco Bell Fruitista Freeze to make up for it. Not that I know that from personal experience.
- And then there's the stand-out: the one who clearly outshines all the rest in whatever dance he/she is in. Her talent is God-given. Her grace is that of a professional. Her artistry is moving. The total effect of this one child on stage? Rapturous. To the parents, that is. Because every parent or grandparent is lasering in on that one child up there around whom their world revolves. Finally, finally, everyone will get to see how great their kid is. Except that everyone else is, of course, watching his or her own stand-out.
Let's face it. That's why we have the recitals--to spotlight the greatest kid who has worked so hard all year long, of course! This is her